February 20, 2018   •   Filed in News

What to wear tips for family portraits | Advice for how to dress for your professional photos

o you've been thinking about getting your family photography done professionally and you've gone ahead and booked your session. I get a lot of families who hire me to capture their family portrait and ask me what they should wear to the session.  
You don't want your clothes to upstage your face, so this is not a time to dig out your favorite Hawaiian shirt. Deep down, you probably know that was not a great look anyway. I've been sending a short description and a Pinterest board with some examples pinned (which I will link to in this article), but I wanted to put together something a little more in depth for those who want more guidance. I snuggled down with my three cats and Hawaiian onesie (because I'm not the one getting my picture taken) and wrote out all of the little pieces of advice that I could ponder regarding what families should be thinking about when it comes to what to wear for their family pictures. (And I've left in a few "helpful" tips my husband added to keep it fun!)  
This is not law, so relax! By no means is this the definitive guide, but it's a simple start for those who are at a loss for where to begin. In the end, your family portraits should be a snapshot of your family personality at this stage of your lives, and you should wear what will reflect that and what makes you feel good. If one person is wearing their retro rock n' roll T-shirt, you all better have one. If these examples and words don't speak to your family don't feel like you MUST follow the advice. You know what they say, rules are meant to be broken. You do you!  
What you've heard is true, no matchy-matchy! The goal for your professional photos should be to coordinate with each other while not looking like you just stepped out of a national best dressed twinsies contest. This can seem like a difficult thing to achieve but there are a couple of ways you can do this.  
1.) Start with your best dressed. Try having one of the ladies in your group pick an outfit first (I'm looking at all the moms out there) and then pull colors from his or her outfit to guide what the rest of the group will wear. Or, maybe there's someone in the group who has a really cool patterned article of clothing they "just have to wear." You can pull colors from that pattern to figure out what everyone else will wear.  
2.) Shades of gray is sexy, and for some reason also a box office hit...or shades of green, blue, or any other color can feel just as good. You can decide ahead of time that you want to pick 2-4 different colors for the group to use. I often have clients ask which colors to wear, and I believe there's no wrong answer to this. (But obviously, Crips should all wear blue). Note: If by chance you are not a Crip, blue also represents trust and loyalty in case you need other reasons to wear blue.  
Don't allow color hogging. My advice is to avoid having everyone in the group wearing darker colors with one wearing lighter colors and vice versa because that person who is not wearing a similar color as the rest of the group will stand out in the pictures. It's like one person using jazz hands and the rest using spirit fingers...all you can see are the jazz hands. (But if one person is clearly superior to everyone else in your family, then this is of course ok).  
Here's a visual representation of what I'm talking about. In this image it looks like the plan was to try and have everyone wear some sort of light blue, dark blue, cream, khaki, and white type of colors but there are a couple of people who strayed from that plan and in the group portrait they stand out a little bit more than the other family members do. It's still a great photo of the whole family together so mission is accomplished. Don't go uninviting Aunt Suzie from Thanksgiving dinner over this minor infraction. It can be hard coordinating clothing, especially when you are all on family vacation together. But they do unintentionally stand apart from everyone else a little bit.  
Event Details
"What to wear" Pinterest Board Go here for more visual examples of what to wear for your professional photography
What to wear for family photos advice article for Colorado families in the mountains
Here's a session where everyone chose bold jewel tones for their fall family photos.  
Matchy matchy with each other = Bad  
Matchy matchy with the environment = Beautiful and damn fine clairvoyant skills  
Bold Jewel Toned Clothing with Blue Purple and Yellow for a fall family photography session in Golden Colorado
And here's another where the family wanted to go bright and bold. These colors could have easily taken away from the family if they hadn't coordinated them from the matriarch's clothing so that they all looked like they went together.  
A Boulder Colorado Family Portrait with everyone wearing coordinated brightly colored clothing in the Mountains
Blue with cream, khaki, or white neutrals is a very popular choice.
An example of a family wearing blue white and gray for their outdoor winter family photography as an example of a what to wear advice article for photography
Professional photography what to wear advice article with a family wearing blue and white for their family pictures in the mountains of Colorado
And here's a family who added a pop of yellow to theirs.
A family with blue and white and a pop of yellow added for their family pictures in the Colorado Mountains
You will probably see lots of advice about not wearing patterns but I actually really love them. The trick is to pick patterns that won't take too much away from your face or will compete too much between people in the same portrait. But please don't be shy about incorporating patterns if that's your thing! (Checkerboards and laser patterns are smoking hot right now.)  
In this example you can see that there are lots of different patterns being worn, but they are all subtle and do not compete with the faces and the other patterns being worn.  
Advice blog post about how to wear patterns to your family photography session in Colorado
Here you'll see two totally different patterns, but the colors go well together and dad's simple green sweater keeps it from becoming too busy in their portraits.
What to wear for fall photos with yellow aspens in Colorado
And here is one more example of lots of different patterns being worn, but are subtle enough and using the overall color scheme well so that they don't feel mismatched in the portrait:  
How to wear patterns for your family's professional photos in Golden Colorado
It's important to think about the overall feel of your portraits. Do you want to keep it casual? Or are you thinking of something more formal? What time of year are we photographing? Be sure to keep these things in mind when coordinating your outfits so that the feel of your clothing matches with each other and with the time of year or weather in addition to the colors and patterns.  
Here's a family who opted for more formal attire for their family portraits:  
A formal family photo with dressed up clothing for a what to wear advice article
And another family who figured out a clothing option that makes sense for cold weather photos while still matching each other well (They also did well with incorporating textures and accessories which I will touch on next).  
It's particularly important to wear something that will keep you comfortable during extreme weather sessions. I have had families who weren't wearing warm enough clothing during snowy winter sessions and others who were wildly sweating during a warm summer session to try and look more fall-like for their Christmas cards. A little bit of light suffering for a few photos goes with the territory, but not at the expense of having to call off the session early because you're clothing is making you miserable!  
How to dress your family for professional photos in Colorado
Don't forget to accessorize! Adding a scarf, hat, jewelry, belts (grandma's rhinestone leopard brooch which is roughly the size of your hand) etc...are all things that can add a little fun flair to your outfit and can really complete your look. Accessories can help showcase your personality and are even sometimes helpful when posing (think of holding your husband's jacket lapel, or a touch of your hat etc...) Don't go overboard with accessorizing, but a small amount of simple accessories definitely go a long way! Be sure to incorporate some texture with your clothing when you can as well. It's certainly not the most important thing when thinking about what to wear to your session, but adding clothing with texture to your look will look awesome in B&W photos and it will add a subtle dimension and depth to your pictures, particularly if you plan to go with softer more neutral colors. It helps keep you far away from boring!  
Here a senior gal shows off her cute boho style with a furry vest and cute hat:  
Family What to wear Advice article in Colorado
I love the simple belt added to this gal's flowy blouse since it added just a little touch of another color to accent a very blue color scheme:
Advice for what to wear and adding accessories for professional photography in Colorado
Here we have a classic "Little Black Dress" which becomes even dressier with a bit of pop when she adds the statement necklace to it:
Adding accessories to your outfit, what to wear for your professional photos
Here's a great example of incorporating textures into your clothing. That subtle bit of varying patterns/materials etc...adds great depth to a portrait.
Adding texture to your clothing to add depth to your family portraits in Colorado
Don't forget about them when you are planning your outfit! Some of your portraits will probably be full length and depending on the location they may be visible in your photos. The style of shoe matters only in that it fits with the rest of your outfit you have put together. Generally brightly colored athletic shoes are not going to go with your look unless you are purposefully going for a gym rat theme for your portraits. If we're going to a location where there is some walking or hiking involved you can either try to incorporate a shoe that looks good while being easy on your feet or you can wear comfy shoes to get to the location and then change into the shoe that completes your outfit. Try to avoid white socks as well. They may not show when you are standing up for a portrait, but there are some poses where you may be sitting, the flash of white peeks out making you "that guy."  
Just imagine if this adorable little girl had been wearing athletic shoes or something that didn't go with the rest of her cute outfit? Her feet would be pretty distracting in the picture if that was the case.  
What kind of shoes to wear to a professional family photography session in Colorado
And lastly, the following are just a few extra pieces of advice when planning for your portraits.  
CREASES: Watch out for large wrinkles and be sure to iron before the session if needed. Trust me, it's much cheaper than paying extra to photoshop them out later!  
HAIR & MAKEUP: Wear what you like to wear! But try to avoid making big changes right before your session. Give your hair a little bit of time to grow to your normal look after a haircut, and maybe give that edgy new style your younger cousin promised is "Gucci AF" a few months before you schedule your session etc...  
If you normally like a natural look when it comes to makeup, that's great! I do usually recommend going just a little bit darker or more dramatic than you usually do since it's harder to see makeup on camera than in real life but don't feel like you have to go overboard with it.  
WEAR CLOTHING THAT FITS WELL: If your clothing is too tight it will be hard to move around during your session. If it's too baggy you may end up looking larger than you want for your pictures. Ill fitting clothing tends to be accentuated on camera and generally will not be as flattering.  
There you have it, an in depth advice article for what to wear for your professional photos. I won't tell you what colors or what exactly to wear because I want my clients to be themselves at their family session. But hopefully these tips will help you look like your best self! I'm always happy to take a look at a photo of your outfits laid out if you like, but please don't feel like you have to overly worry about what you are wearing for your photos. The most important part of all of this is that you are getting together as a family! To see more visual examples of what other families have worn for their family portraits please click on the link to my Pinterest "what to wear" board at the top of this post!  
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February 15, 2018   •   Filed in Winter, Families

Granby Ranch Family Vacation Photography | Winter at Lake Granby Colorado

just had the pleasure of photographing this good looking family up in Granby Colorado a few days ago. They traveled out to Colorado from Louisiana to enjoy a nice family ski trip to the snowy mountains of Granby Ranch. I begged Geoff to come join me to make wrangling my light easier in the snow and we headed up and over Berthoud Pass. We arrived early and scoped out the ranch. We even climbed a big hill to see if it might be worth making the family hike up there for a shot, but decided the views weren't remarkably better than they were near the parking area (luckily for them!) We even headed down near the golf course club house to see what the views might look like over there before deciding last minute that we wanted to take them to Lake Granby for the second half of the session. I'm so glad we did because the sunset and mountain views over there were stunning. We tried to pick the nicest day that week that they would be here but it still ended up pretty chilly while we were photographing. It's probably because I'm always dead set on photographing near sunset which means a pretty big temperature drop during winter. But, as you can see from the pictures, there is a pretty good reason why I time family photos the way that I do. I just love the color and the pretty warm light at the end of the day. It really makes a snowy winter wonderland even more magical. I am such a spoiled photographer though because this family was incredibly good sports about hanging outside together and answering all of my questions about their family and making them do silly stuff as they attempted to stay warm. I think it was worth the hour of being a little bit chilly, just look at how awesome they look in their pictures together!
A beautiful family portrait with a ranch fence on a snowy winter day with Granby Ranch ski resort backdrop in Colorado
Colorado winter family vacation to Lake Granby in Colorado with family portraits at sunset
A beautiful family with 3 sons walk together with a mountain backdrop at Lake Granby in Colorado
Three brothers are photographed at sunset with a gorgeous mountain backdrop on a snowy winter day at Lake Granby in Colorado
Beautiful family photo during winter with snow at Lake Granby in Colorado
A mama and her sons with a pretty mountain backdrop in Granby Colorado during winter with snow on the ground
A good looking couple embrace during their family portraits at sunset at Lake Granby in Colorado during winter
A beautiful family poses for a portrait with a ranch fence and the mountains of Granby Colorado in the backdrop during their Colorado ski trip to Granby Ranch
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January 17, 2018   •   Filed in Winter, Families

Colorado Outdoor Winter Family Photography | South Mesa Trail in Boulder

had the pleasure of photographing my good friend Beth's extended family over the weekend. Turns out her brother was going to be in town so they decided it would be a good opportunity to get a family portrait while they were all together. It can be so hard for the whole family to get a chance to all be in one place after the kids are grown so I was glad they were able to make this happen for Beth's mom and dad. Originally we were planning to head up to the Sunrise Amphitheater area in Boulder but there was some sort of accident and the road leading up to our meeting spot was blocked off. I haven't been to South Mesa in a really long time due to some construction work the City of Boulder was doing on the trails there this past summer and fall but I figured it might be a good back up location for us. I'm so glad we ended up going here because the rugged mountain backdrop looked so great in their family photos! Sometimes for winter sessions I really want to have snow on the ground to help make it look like a gorgeous winter wonderland. But even though we didn't get lucky with some pretty snowy backdrops, the landscape still looked gorgeous because of those lovely blue mountains. The weather ended up being a lot colder than we were expecting too. I tried to work as quickly as I could and got lots of different family combinations before we had to call it a night. I'm really pleased with what we were able to get despite the chilly wind blowing our hair around and the poor little ones freezing their little booties off. They were all really good at making it seem like they were totally warm in their pictures! I've selected a bunch of favorites from the session to share below. Enjoy!
Colorado Winter Family Portrait with the South Boulder Creek in the backdrop at sunset in Boulder at South Mesa Trail
Young couple pose with the South Boulder Creek in the backdrop at South Mesa Trail during winter in Boulder Colorado
Three young sisters wearing blue hug each other for a family photo with the blue Boulder mountain backdrop at South Mesa Trail during winter in Colorado
Cute Colorado Family photography with mountain backdrop at South Mesa Trail in Boulder
Cute couple portrait with pretty mountain backdrop at sunset in Boulder Colorado at the South Mesa Trail
Family photography during winter with mountain backdrop at South Mesa Trail in Boulder Colorado
Happy outdoor family portrait during winter at South Mesa Trail in Boulder Colorado
Boulder Colorado Sibling Portrait with blue mountain backdrop during winter at South Mesa Trail
Couple portrait with blue mountain backdrop during winter at South Mesa Trail in Boulder Colorado
Adorable little girl in a leather jacket poses with a mountain backdrop at South Mesa Trail in Boulder Colorado
Pretty South Mesa Trail blue mountain backdrop couple portrait during winter in Boulder Colorado
Parents of a family pose for a couples portrait together with a mountain backdrop at sunset at the South Mesa Trail in Boulder Colorado
Beautiful Colorado Extended Family Photo at sunset with blue mountain backdrop at the South Mesa Trail in Boulder Colorado
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January 6, 2018   •   Filed in Engagements, Winter

Colorado Winter Engagement Photography | Sunset at Sloan’s Lake in Denver

got an email from this nice couple, Lisa and Brad, earlier this week saying they were looking to get a handful of engagement portraits created for their save the dates/wedding invitations. The wedding celebration is coming up this June in Oregon where Lisa is from so we needed to get right on it. They spend a lot of time at Sloan's Lake Park on the northwest side of Denver so we set up their session to take place about 45 min before sunset. We started off over on the west side of the park so we could get the Denver city skyline in the backdrop and we got lucky with one of our photos when the geese flew right across the backdrop making it perfectly Denver. (Those geese are definitely a neighborhood fixture at Sloan's Lake. Just the other day when I was heading to the King Soopers across the street for grocery shopping a whole gaggle of them were politely using the crosswalk which totally made me laugh!) We also made use of the notably bouncy bridge before we headed over to the other side of the park right as sunset was happening. I am in love with what we were able to get despite it being the middle of winter with zero snow on the ground. Sometimes when there are limited options due to a dead winter environment you have to really make sure to photograph at the right time of day to bring out the beauty of a place. Luckily for us, the park streetlights were hitting the frozen Sloan Lake creating a beautiful pinkish orange glow. This beautiful warm colored reflection paired with the dark icy blue of the lake blended into a beautiful purple color making for a surprisingly gorgeous backdrop after the sun set. And of course, the lake paired with the mountains always looks fantastic in photos. And it definitely helps that Brad and Lisa were such good sports and went along with all of my dumb photographer prompts and attempts to get them to laugh. I think their session turned out beautifully. Check out some of my favorites below!
Beautiful Denver City Skyline backdrop at sunset during winter with pastel colored skies with geese flying overhead at Sloan Lake
Sloan Lake Engagement Portrait with City of Denver backdrop at sunset during winter in Colorado
B&W Engagement photography cute couple playing together during winter at Sloan's Lake Park in Denver Colorado
Beautiful Sloan's Lake Engagement Photography with frozen lake sunset backdrop during winter in Denver Colorado
Geese walk on frozen Sloan Lake during a sweet winter engagement session with mountain backdrop in Denver Colorado
Pretty sunset silhouette engagement photography at Sloan's Lake Park in Denver Colorado during winter
Beautiful frozen Sloan Lake during winter engagement photography in Denver Colorado
Denver Colorado Engagement Photographer Frozen Sloan Lake Backdrop During Winter
Beautifully lit engagement photography at night with frozen Sloan Lake backdrop during winter in Denver Colorado
I have to say it was hard to pick a favorite from this session, but it's hard to beat a solid nice photo with a mountain backdrop!
A classic beautiful engagement portrait of a couple standing in front of frozen Sloan Lake during winter in Denver Colorado
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